Hasan Minhaj Exposes Labor Issue In Video Game Industry

The "Patriot Act" host explained the "development crunch," an exploitative cycle that runs rampant across the video game industry.

On the heels of July’s major video game event, the Fortnite World Cup, Hasan Minhaj highlighted the troubling labor issues behind video game companies. 

The “Patriot Act” host addressed the exploitative labor practices rampant in the industry and the conditions under which developers and other employees work to create popular games. 

In Sunday’s episode, Minhaj dove into what’s known as the “development crunch,” the cycle in which companies manipulate their workforces and overwork them based on their game release dates. 

″Companies staff up, crunch their employees, then they lay people off when the game comes out,” Minhaj explained. “They’re given so much work, then none at all. They basically treat people the way we treated Freddie Prinze Jr. It was everything and then nothing.”

He added: “They can do that because there’s an endless supply of people willing to work in gaming.”

The host also delved into the sexism in the industry and the need for protections through labor unions. A piece by Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier in The New York Times earlier this year echoed many of these issues. Schreier compared the treatment of video game employees to “Tetris pieces, to be put into place as efficiently as possible, then promptly disposed of.” 

“Workers in the video game industry will be better off when they are able to leverage their talent and experience to demand better conditions from the executives who profit off their work,” Schreier wrote.